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Health Support Workers Below Poverty Line

Thursday 9 June 2005

Health Support Workers Below Poverty Line

“Most health support workers are earning less than the Government’s poverty line of $27,600 or 60% of household median income,” said Nadine Marshall, Secretary of the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) today. She was commenting on figures released by the Ministry of Social Development today.

“If the health support worker is the sole earner in a family, they would be below the poverty line if they earned less than $13.29 an hour,” said Nadine Marshall. “Virtually all health support workers in District Health Boards (DHBs) and Non Government Organisations (NGOs) earn less than that, and many of them are sole earners.”

“Hospital cleaners, orderlies and food service workers start on about $10 and move up to their peak of about $13 an hour after three years,” said Nadine Marshall. “Dental Therapists Assistants start on $20,652 and can reach $21,466 per annum! Allied Health Support workers and Psychiatric Assistants, but also some Allied Health professionals like Recreation Officers and Dental Therapists, start on a salary below the poverty line though they later move above it. ”

“Clerical and Administration staff in health are among the lowest paid,” said Nadine Marshall. “The starting rate is only $9.72 an hour and it takes four years to reach the poverty line income level and $13.47 per hour. NGO support workers earn rates from $11.30 to $14.”

“NUPE is claiming a 30% catch-up for health workers covered by the Union at various DHBs,” said Nadine Marshall. “That level of increase would at least shift all health workers wages above the poverty line.”


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